Animals are a big part of our world and feature heavily in our creative works. Multiple horses for example, recently took centre stage in the major role of Joey, an English plough horse in Steven Spielberg’s War Horse. In many cases it is not possible to simply use a real animal in film production and as such their essence must be captured and re-created digitally.

Traditionally, gathering of reference material such as photographs and video has been the standard approach. This has led to CG hero characters which fool the audience completely. This is not however the case one hundred percent of the time. Even with high quality reference material, it is possible for even seasoned animators to produce results which are untrue to the animal’s abilities.

Motion capture has been used to solve this problem with humans for some time. The same cannot be said however when it comes to animals. In this talk we discuss our recent project which involved capturing the movement of horses. This exciting project shows the possibility of using motion capture with animals and how we can use this technology to capture a true performance.

Bradford University lecturer Karl Abson will give this behind-the-scenes look at how motion capture can be used with animals. The talk will have a specific focus on how this is achieved in practice for VFX film, animation and games.

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